Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups ahead of Week 7

·8 min read

By Evan Berofsky, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

A few teams have recently returned to action, which is great because that means things are improving. And it also increases the available fantasy player pool. Hope you were monitoring your league's waiver wire to pounce on some decent, idle names if they were dropped or if others hesitated.

In other news, snow! In Texas! It's a shame the Stars' games were postponed, but the important thing is that everyone gets their power back.

Be sure to check the latest player news on RotoWire and our other hockey material to set your lineups and manage your rosters.

Get to the wire to see if any of the following players are available. No protocol-related delays as of this writing, though things may change by the time you read this.

(Yahoo! rostered rates/stats as of Feb. 18.)

FORWARDS

William Karlsson, VGK (42 percent rostered)

We all remember when Karlsson came out of nowhere with a 78-point season in 2017-18. He's regressed since, but not at an alarming rate. The Swede centers Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith — two guys he's very familiar with — and can often be found on Vegas' potent top power play. Karlsson has posted 10 points in 14 games, a decent total for any forward. Maybe the lower Yahoo coverage is due to him not being on the "first" line, but that shouldn't matter from someone who regularly scores and wins nine faceoffs a night.

Joe Thornton, TOR (33 percent)

Big Joe has been productive as a senior. After all, he led the league in assists at 36 and only saw his 20-year double-digit power-play count snapped last season. Thornton opted to sign with the Leafs and some believed he would be stuck in a lower role due to the team's existing forward talent. While it started that way, the former MVP followed a three-week injury by being installed beside Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner on Monday. That experiment led to a goal and assist and continued Wednesday with another helper and the bonus of first man-advantage duty.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Joe Thornton (97)
Jumbo is still at it in his advanced age. (AP Photo/Peter Power)

Jean-Gabriel Pageau, NYI (31 percent)

After finding his niche as a defensive/shorthanded specialist, Pageau broke out with 26 goals and 10 power-play points last season while earning a trade to a better club. Brock Nelson was assumed to operate as the Isles' No. 2 center, but Pageau has taken control of that role by outscoring him 10 to six. In addition to the 20 shots he's directed on net in six games this month, the Ottawa native has continued his faceoff proficiency with a 57.8 percent win rate.

Nick Schmaltz, ARI (31 percent)

Schmaltz's 13 points from 15 contests looks pretty good, and it's even better when you consider the Coyotes only average 2.60 goals. The former Blackhawk ranks second on the team scoring charts (Conor Garland leads with 14) but is the only one of their top-three producers — Christian Dvorak being the third — who has previously handled a consistently heavy workload. Schmaltz also deserves attention for firing 37 shots while operating on the lead group for both even-strength and man-advantage.

Pius Suter, CHI (17 percent)

Suter finally got his big NHL break after leading the Swiss National League in points. Not many come over from there and immediately contribute, but it looks as though the former OHLer has emulated teammate — and previous year's top Swiss scorer — Dominik Kubalik in reversing the trend. After only managing an assist from his first five matchups, Suter went off for a hat-trick against the Red Wings and has since tallied three more markers. With Chicago light on centers, he's received a big chance to succeed as pivot to Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat during 5-on-5 and as a member of the second power play.

Maxime Comtois, ANH (10 percent)

Comtois split the previous season between the NHL and AHL and combined for 35 points in 60 appearances. He's graduated to a full-time position with the Ducks and enters Thursday with four goals and a helper in the last five. That's pretty impressive marksmanship from someone on a team ranked last in the league with a 1.94 goal average. The scoring should be enough to persuade you to add Comtois, but let's sweeten the deal by mentioning he also dishes out about two hits a night.

Tyler Johnson, TB (9 percent)

Anthony Cirelli's loss is Johnson's gain, with the former set to be gone for a week and possibly longer. In the two games since Cirelli went down, Johnson has counted three goals, five shots and 14 faceoff wins. The ice time may be somewhat low, but the offensive opportunities will keep coming as long as Johnson stays in the top-six. He could stick even when Cirelli returns, but would probably move to the wing. Johnson isn't the 72-point producer from way back when, but adding a regular piece of Tampa Bay's attack to your lineup is usually a good thing.

Alex Iafallo, LA (6 percent)

The Kings aren't anemic like their crosstown rivals, as they can boast a healthy 3.14 scoring average. Their over-30 forward group has been the biggest fantasy beneficiary, but others up front have also taken advantage. Enter Iafallo, a waiver darling the last two campaigns and frequent caddy to Anze Kopitar. The former NCAA All-American has accumulated nine points, including three PPPs, from the first 14. Throw in more than 20 minutes of ice time and a nearly-three-shot average and you've got yourself an excellent asset.

DEFENSEMEN

Matt Dumba, MIN (46 percent)

The Wild returned after two weeks away and the rust clearly showed in their 4-0 defeat to LA on Tuesday. While a few Minnesota defenders missed that game, Dumba came back and skated more than 24 minutes while posting three shots, one hit, and two blocks. He's produced 130 points, 567 shots, 390 hits, and 314 blocks from his last 259 regular-season games before this year, so there should be more interest in Yahoo leagues. Minnesota will have problems consistently scoring, but Dumba will be the club's leading cross-category blueliner.

Justin Schultz, WAS (44 percent)

Schultz missed long stretches in each of his final two seasons with the Pens, but the veteran was considered a wise addition in DC. He's repaid the Caps' trust with two goals and five assists through 10 outings while adding 20 shots and a plus-8. Schultz has also been provided with sufficient power-play time, which has resulted in four PPAs. He won't get you top-tier scoring but will rack up enough stats to fill a mid-roster spot.

Damon Severson, NJ (5 percent)

Unlike the Wild, Jersey looked good after a long layoff and dropped five on the Rangers on Tuesday. While the Devils can roll out superior offensive defensemen, none are as complete as Severson. He's no slouch on the attacking end having pointed in four straight, though the 24 shots, 14 hits, and 14 blocks are more his forte. Severson also participates on both special-teams units and has hit double-digit PPPs on three previous occasions, including the last two seasons.

Nick Leddy, NYI (4 percent)

Leddy is quietly enjoying a nice scoring haul with a goal and seven assists. He used to be more of a go-to D for points, but younger teammates have been favored in recent years. The man-advantage minutes remain and Leddy has net four PPPs this campaign, while there's no risk in being dropped considering the Isles seem to like using him with either forward group. Even though Leddy isn't known for the defensive stats, he's produced seven hits and seven blocks in the last four games.

GOALTENDERS

Chris Driedger, FLA (44 percent)

Sergei Bobrovsky underwhelmed in the first year of his $70 million contract and things haven't exactly improved this season with the two-time Vezina winner maintaining a 3.33 GAA and .884 save percentage through seven appearances. Driedger impressed during his brief 2020 Florida debut and holds a 2.39 GAA/.924 line. The journeyman keeper only registered three NHL starts prior to his arrival in the Sunshine State, so it may be premature to peg him for the top job. But as long as Driedger continues to do well, Bob's reign may be in jeopardy.

Ilya Sorokin, NYI (26 percent)

Sorokin tore up the KHL and earned All-Star honors in each of his five full campaigns with CSKA. His much-anticipated North American arrival was met with unbelievably high expectations, so the 11 goals allowed in his first three starts could be considered disappointing. It was assumed Sorokin would need time to adjust to the smaller ice surface and different style of play, so it's nice to see him pick up a shutout Tuesday against the Sabres. He'll earn more opportunities, but it's hard to predict when he'll be the No. 1 since there have been no complaints about Semyon Varlamov (7-2-2, 1.89, .931, three shutouts). Be patient with Sorokin — his time will come.

(Players to consider from past columns: Jack Roslovic, Jordan Staal, Conor Garland, Vincent Trocheck, Dustin Brown, Zach Hyman, Joshua Norris, Jordan Kyrou, Roope Hintz, Carter Verhaeghe, David Krejci, Paul Stastny, Denis Gurianov, Alex Killorn, Nick Ritchie, Tim Stutzle, Chandler Stephenson, Rasmus Andersson, Josh Morrissey, Noah Dobson, Devon Toews, Dante Fabbro, Filip Hronek, Kevin Lankinen, Jake Oettinger, Linus Ullmark)